Bear Safety Guide For Camping In The Southwest United States

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When camping in southwestern parts of the nation, it is important to keep bear safety in mind. The most common species in this region is the black bear. It inhabits many wooded areas and may live near rivers in arid locales. These tips can help you stay safe:

1. This large brown or black animal usually comes in contact with humans when convenient food sources are located nearby. It normally avoids humans unless it becomes familiar with them. To prevent this, cooperate with fellow campers to eliminate any food sources.

2. If you camp with pets, do not leave cat or dog food outside where wild animals can find it. Make sure the bears cannot easily access water bowls or bags full of trash. Avoid camping near any fruit-bearing trees or gardens that could attract a hungry bear.

3. Black bears climb well, so a fence must measure six feet or taller to deter them. Some fences provide surfaces they can easily grip. Outdoor lights usually will not prevent this animal from entering a camping area.

4. When you see a distant bear, change direction to avoid it. Never run away from this animal or it will chase you. If it comes in contact with you, do your best to behave calmly and back up at a slow pace.

5. It is rare for a black bear to act aggressively. If one attacks you, use any weapons you have available. Pepper sprays or stones may prove helpful. As soon as possible, contact the local authorities for emergency assistance.

6. If you feel the need to shoot a bear, remember this is only legal in some situations. Arizona permits it when bears endanger humans, farm animals are killed or gun owners obtain the appropriate hunting license. Do not use a firearm near someone else’s home unless it is absolutely necessary.

Basically, it is wise to avoid providing any convenient sources of food or water on your campsite. A carefully selected camping location can also enhance bear safety. Remember to exercise extreme caution and try to avoid direct contact.

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Quick Tips For Building An Amazing Winter Snow Fort

484077419Are you ready to awe your neighbors this winter? Are you thinking about launching a sneak snowball attack from the ultimate home base? Here are five tips for building a snow fort.

Prepare your space and equipment

No matter what your final fort will look like, some basic prep work will help it to last.  Trace the perimeter of your structure in the snow with a stick, or handle. If a ton of snow fell, go ahead and draw a four-walled fort. However, if you have less snow, stick with a smaller design that utilizes a single wall with short wings to use for cover.

To create the bricks for your fort, look for items that are easy to fill, and a uniform shape. Some ideas are a beach pail, a plastic storage box, or a cooler.  Gather your molds, and a yardstick for getting the snow out more easily.

Construct your bricks

Pack snow into your container. Wet snow works the best. If your snow is powdery, try to start with snow that is near buildings or landscaping, as this tends to be wetter.  Pack the snow down tightly to ensure your brick stays together when you unmold it.

Fill your space

Start building your fort by placing your bricks around the perimeter you drew earlier. Leave a few inches between each block, and then stack the next layer like a brick wall, with the upper brick overlapping two lower bricks. Once you have your bricks in place, fill in the gaps with additional snow to bolster your walls.

Smooth the walls

The side of a snow shovel, a plastic lid, or a trowel can all be used for this step.  Your goal is to make the walls of the fort smooth, and slanted slightly. Think about the sides of a pyramid, and go for that look for extra strength.

Make ice

Dump buckets of cold water over the entire fort, starting at the bottom and working your way up.  As this water freezes, you will create an ice layer that will help your fort withstand snowball attacks.

Now that you have created the ultimate snow fort, you can start stockpiling snowballs so you are ready for battle whenever the opportunity arises.

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Tips For Choosing A Fishing Trip Charter

Many people dream of a fun and exciting fishing trip, but it takes careful planning and a little research in order to ensure your fishing charter is able to deliver the experience you are hoping for. An unforgettable offshore fishing trip depends on choosing the right boat and captain for your adventure.

Cost Isn’t Everything

There’s no doubt, the cost of an offshore fishing adventure will play an important part in choosing a fishing trip charter; however, it’s also important that you know just what you’re getting when making your decision. Remember, just because a particular charter offers lower prices, does not necessarily make it a better choice.

It is important to consider the fact that a reputable captain will have up-to-date insurance, quality equipment and a reliable vessel. Cutting corners might allow a budget charter to set lower prices, but consider what you might be giving up.

Safety is Important

When choosing a fishing trip charter, safety should always be at the top of your list. When you’re heading out to sea, things can happen. Weather can turn bad with almost no warning. Someone could accidentally fall overboard or there could be a collision between two boats. It is imperative that the charter you choose has up to date insurance.

Other things to consider are whether anyone on board is trained in First Aid or CPR and, of course, there should be a properly fitting life jacket for every single person on board.

Experience of the Captain

Every charter is unique and making sure you have an experienced captain can make a huge difference in the fun and success you have during your fishing trip. An experienced captain will generally provide charter service on a full-time basis. Additionally, the captain should have a license for operation. While it is certainly important that the captain has expertise regarding various types of fish, they should also have good people skills.

When you want to enjoy a rewarding and unforgettable charter fishing trip, be sure to do your research. An experienced captain with a well-maintained boat can offer the most exciting and rewarding experience.

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Tips For Choosing Trekking Poles

Trekking poles can be a hiker’s best friend out there in the wilderness. These are multi-purpose instruments that everyone should consider. They can reduce the stress on joints, help out when hiking up steep inclines, provide balance on gnarly terrain, prop up a tent, shoo dangerous animals, and many more. Here are some tips if you are buying poles for the first time:

Always Buy a Pair of Poles

They are usually sold individually so you can get a single piece to try out on a hike. However, it really is best to purchase a pair since you can never be sure when stocks will run out. It would be difficult to use non-matching poles in the future due to lack of foresight. The feel will be different and it would be hard to get a good balance. You will need to use two on longer hikes anyway so better get a pair while you can.

Mind the Weight for Long Hikes

The thing about poles is that although they make the journey easier on your legs, they transfer the load to your arms. You need to have a pretty solid upper body so that you will not ache after constantly carrying these pieces all day. They may seem light but the repetitive motion does take its toll. Find the lightest ones you can afford. Those made of carbon fiber and similar materials are worth their price.

Find Out the Range of Lengths

Most poles are height-adjustable. The majority of hikers will have no trouble setting things up to a comfortable length. Those who are on the opposite extremes when it comes to height might want to check out the specifications just to make sure that they are buying the right poles. This is even more critical when getting collapsible pole which are non-adjustable.

Get a Suitable Basket

The attachment near the end of the poles is there to keep them from submerging deep into mud and snow. Winter hiking will require a basket of larger diameter.

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The Beautiful Caves Of Arizona

 

Arizona is home to the most pristine caves in North America.  Extraordinary effort is required to maintain the pristine nature of the caverns and viewing them is an exciting, unique experience.

Kartchner Caverns is a living cave. Visitors will find delicate streams glistening inside the caverns. The cavern is still growing, with stalactites and stalagmites still forming within the caverns. The cavern itself is brilliantly colored and is home to the longest Soda Straw Stalactite formation in the world. It is considered one of the top 10 most beautiful caves in the world, and welcomes visitors to its delicate systems throughout the year. Along with the caverns the park also has a campground, museum, hiking trails, and more amenities.

The Grand Canyon Caverns are the largest dry caverns in the United States. An elevator is required to travel the approximately 300 feet down to the caverns. These caverns do not support a delicate ecosystem like the Kartchner Caverns, but still offer beauty with gorgeous rock formations. The Grand Canyon Caverns are close to any amenities that may be needed, and located just off Route 66. Guests have the opportunity to spend the night in the Cavern Suite, hotel suite complete with all amenities, located inside the cavern. They are just two and a half hours from Phoenix or Las Vegas, and only about an hour and a half from Laughlin, Lake Havasu, or Williams.

Colossal Cave is located in Colossal Cave Mountain Park, and may just be the world’s largest dry cavern. The caves have stopped growing since their original source of water has dried over several million years, which is what makes it now a “dry” cave. The Hohokam Indians lived in the valley below the caves, and used the caves for shelter and as a religious shrine. The caves were discovered by Solomon Lick in 1879, who was also the first tour guide for the Colossal Caves. During the 1890’s bank robbers often used the cases to hide out from the local sheriff. There are plenty of rumors about cash from bank robbers stored within the cave. To this date, no stash of cash has been located in the Colossal Cave.

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Tips For Choosing A Camping Tent

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Choosing a camping tent can be a hard task given the large number of tents on the market. To make this task easier, here are tips for choosing a camping tent:

Sleeping Capacity

Choose a tent that can accommodate the number of people you would be willing to accommodate while on a camping trip. The sleeping capacity of tents varies from one to as many as eight people. Check the manufacturer’s label for information on number of people a tent can accommodate.

Design

Design is an important factor one should consider when buying a tent. Design touches on aspects such as floor space, doors, storage options, and height. For instance, floor space dimensions allow one to determine how many people can fit inside a tent as well as available space for storing personal effects. If you are planning to go camping in winter or during a rainy season, go for a tent with enough space to stand and turn without bumping into another person or the roof.

Waterproof Capability

A tent should keep you and any other person sleeping inside dry. To keep the inside of a tent dry, manufacturers use waterproof coatings like silicone, polyurethane, or a mixture of both. In addition, they use numerical figures, which range anywhere from 1200mm to 3000mm, to show the capability of a tent to keep inhabitants dry. In general, the higher this figure, the better a tent is in terms of waterproof capability. For instance, 2000mm means your tent’s fabric can prevent a water column 2000mm tall from seeping through.

Material

Most tents are made of synthetic fabrics such as polyester and nylon. In fact, the upper part of a tent, the canopy, is usually made of tough, nylon material. Before buying a tent, check the denier value of its nylon fabric. In essence, a higher denier value denotes a heavier and stronger the nylon fabric and vice versa. Polyester fabrics are usually reserved for the rainfly or floor. Nevertheless, you will come across tents with polyester fabric canopies and nylon fabric floors or various combinations of synthetic materials.

Some of the important factors to consider when choosing a camping tent include the sleeping capacity, material, waterproof capability, and design.

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Road Rules For Bicyclists To Keep You Safe

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Cycling on the road is always a tricky proposition. It can be intimidating to pedal along beside larger 4-wheel vehicles that are whizzing by. Yet many are able to do it on a regular basis without incident. You too can ride around with confidence as long as you follow a few bicyclist safety precautions.

Check Your Bike

Before you go out, see whether the vital parts are functioning well. The brakes are particularly important so test them a bit and make adjustments if necessary. Look for wheel punctures and other potential issues. Tighten all the loose parts and fix the things that might be causing noise to lessen distractions while riding.

Assume Invisibility

Bikes are slim and silent. These characteristics make it hard for car drivers to notice that a bike is approaching them. Cyclists have to assume that they are invisible and work from this viewpoint. They have to take it upon themselves to enhance their visibility through light-colored clothing, safety vests, reflectors, and blinking lights. Stay out of blind spots and use a reasonably loud horn when needed.

Follow the Road Rules

Everyone on the roads must follow the rules. Cyclists are not exempt from this. Stop when the light goes red and go when it’s green. Abide by the signs and don’t go over the speed limit. Most people assume that bikes are slow but they can actually go very fast if the rider is fit and the slope is going down. Wear a helmet if it is prescribed by state law. Even if it isn’t, it’s probably best to wear one anyway. Studies have repeatedly shown how proper headgear can save lives.

Stay Predictable

Commit to one lane and avoid swerving too much or speeding up just to get ahead. Do not make sudden turns. Do not sprint at intersections. Make a clear signal using hand gestures for turns and stops so that drivers will know what you plan to do. Be as predictable as possible in your movements to give others the time to react accordingly.

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Tips For Choosing The Best Hiking Boots

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Hiking is a popular activity that allows one to enjoy outdoors scenery alone or with others. However, one must wear the right hiking footwear to avoid developing painful blisters. With that in mind, here are tips for choosing the best hiking boots:

Quality of Hiking Boots

Hiking terrain varies widely from dusty to snowy or muddy. With this in mind, go for quality boots that can withstand walking over uneven surface without developing serious wear and tear. In addition, they should not leak in water when crossing streams or walking on wet ground. However, they should allow in fresh air to prevent bad odors developing if you have sweaty feet.

Type of Hiking Boots

Choose hiking boots that will allow you to move over hiking terrain with ease. Sturdy hiking boots that reach well above the ankles are the right choice if you are planning to tackle a steep or muddy trail. They should also be waterproof. Such boots will give your feet and ankles much needed support as well as keep them dry. A pair of boots with stiff soles will also come in handy when climbing a mountain.

Fit of Hiking Boots

It is advisable to try on the pair of boots you are eyeing to ensure they fit well. The rule of thumb is to try these boots wearing the pair of socks you plan to wear while hiking. You should also do so towards the end of the day when the feet tend to have swollen a bit. The right pair of boots should feel comfortable and leave space for the toes to wiggle. If you can, walk down an incline wearing them. Your feet should not slide forward. If they do, you are likely wearing boots that are too wide.

Load Support of Hiking Boots

If you will be carrying a heavy backpack, choose boots that can support such weight. It is worth noting that this does not necessarily mean that the boots must be heavy. Manufacturers use light but sturdy materials that can last years.

In summary, the key factors to consider when choosing hiking boots include load support, fit, type, and quality. Equally important, you should take one or two short hikes to break in a new pair of hiking boots.

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Tips For Staying Safe While Camping Or Hiking In The Desert

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The sandy wilderness can be a fun place to be, especially for the wanderlust camper. There is a lot to marvel about like the constantly traveling dunes, the site of gem oasis or a caravan of camels longing for their end destination. However, we cannot also forget that behind this beautiful scenic view lies a danger we need to protect ourselves from.

There is a lot to consider when camping out in the desert than just packing a backpack and going. You should be equipped with a few desert hiking safety tips that will ensure your survive whatever situation that may come away. If you are a first time desert camper, here are a few things you need to consider while out there:

Water and Food: Water and food should always be first on the list—but water should be prioritized because the scorch environment of the desert can drain your body to dehydration. Thus carry an extra gallon of water safely with you and ensure you have enough food to last the camping period.

Clothes: You also have to consider the kind of clothes to wear out there. Because the heat will be intense, dressing lightly is advised; dress in bright colors that reflected sunrays away as opposed to dull colors. Sunglasses and a hat are ideal when the sun becomes unbearably hot. A heavy jacket should be considered too because the deserts nights can get quite chilly.

Where to Camp: While out in the desert, beware of the poisonous creatures that lurk in the sandy terrains. Avoid areas that may attract snakes or scorpions like deserted rock, logs, holes or thick bushes. Watch where you sit, where you walk and where you touch at all times. Carry a first aid kit with you in case someone is bitten by a poisonous animal and needs quick medical aid.

Lastly, before setting out to the sandy terrains, always inform someone of where you are going and who you are going with. For extra safety, always hike with friends because this increases your survival chances when something goes wrong.

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Essential Gear For A Hiking Trip

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Camping and hiking are perfect outlets to enjoy the beauty of the great outdoors. To ensure a safe and enjoyable Hiking Trip, it is crucial that you carry along the necessary essentials, along with emergency gear. Knowledge of hiking, common sense, and emergency gear will help keep you safe.

Hiking is an exhilarating sport, but it can be very dangerous in certain terrain and weather conditions. Hikers should always be prepared for anything, including emergencies. One of the top ten things you must bring along is a detailed map of the area you will be hiking in.

177371109The 7.5 minute USGS maps are great for those who are blazing new trails because they are very detailed. When hiking on trails the 15 minute Green Trails map, along with others, will keep you on course. Remember, it is crucial to know how to use a map properly, regardless of where you hike.

The next item you will need to carry along and know how to use is a compass. It is wise to have a compass that is liquid filled, and offers a base plate, an adjustable declination to discern between the Magnetic North and True North, a mirror that folds out, and a clinometer to measure slope steepness. Two other essentials are waterproof flashlights and headlamps.

It is important to carry along extra food and clothing to help you in the event of an emergency. Taking along a waterproofed tube tent and a mylar Space Bag are also great to have in a pinch. You should always carry an appropriate pair of glasses that have lenses that will protect your eyes from natural elements such as snow and sunlight. Another important thing to carry along is a First-Aid Kit that is packed with first aid essentials that are commonly needed on hiking trips.

Packing a pocket knife such as a Swiss Army Knife will provide you with most of the tools needed during an emergency. Waterproof matches and fire starting equipment are also important to carry along. Using common sense and packing other lightweight emergency essentials and Hiking Gear will also help to ensure your safety. Please check back often for new and helpful hiking articles.